Michael Gove’s efforts to “level up” hit a snag after he was trapped in a BBC lift for more than 30 minutes.
The Communities Secretary was touring studios to explain his plan to tackle the cladding scandal when the mishap occurred.
BBC presenter Nick Robinson told listeners: “We’ve had breaking news this morning that W1A is not in fact a satirical programme, because we were hoping to talk to Michael Gove – you might have been hoping to hear from Michael Gove at this time. He had very kindly come into the building so we didn’t have to deal with one of those awkward line failures.
“Mr Gove is stuck in the Broadcasting House lift. I wish I could say this is a joke, it is not a joke and it is not very funny for Mr Gove and the security man, who have been stuck there for some time.”
But Robinson said Mr Gove had been “keeping cheerful”.
Gove was freed from the BBC lift after being stuck for more than half an hour.
Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme later than planned, the Levelling Up Secretary said he had been “successfully levelled up”, adding: “These sorts of things happen, and if you and I together have given ammunition for Armando Iannucci or for the next episode of W1A, then fine.”
Told by presenter Nick Robinson that the hashtag #FreeMichaelGove had been started on Twitter, the Cabinet minister said he suspected there are “rather more people” who feel he should be “incarcerated for longer”.
Gove said he had texted BBC chairman Richard Sharp in order to be freed from the lift.
Speaking on LBC, Mr Gove said: “I’m talking to you from BBC New Broadcasting House but in a scene, perhaps, I think more appropriate for The Thick Of It or W1A, I was trapped in a BBC lift for half an hour between 7.45 and 8.15.
“But, thanks to the good offices of the Today programme, and also thanks to my texting the BBC chairman, I was liberated.”
He added: “He made sure that a crack engineering team were dispatched. As someone pointed out, even though we had to wait half an hour, eventually I was levelled up.”
He said it was “very good advice from both a health and a safety point of view” to take the stairs out of the building.